Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Blondie takes a dirt Nap

I had made arrangements to take my moto jacket to a tailor in Victoria so that I could have some pockets built into the jacket.   That meant an early start from home, and a quick ride down to Victoria.  While a 6 hour ride is part of the price of living in a smaller and remote community, the idea of most of it being on the slab and relatively boring was not very appealing.

Other than dealing with touristas on the dirt road who do not use their mirrors and will toddle along for God knows how many miles until they realize that there is someone eating their dust who wishes to pass, the trip was uneventful and Blondie ran well, in spite of being loaded down with all sorts of gear. I was happy with how she handled on the gravel, and while I recognize that the Road is not indicative of what I will be running into further South, the bike does not seem to be impacted by two panniers and and a top box.....more on this later.

I stopped for fuel a couple of times, and at the last gas station and A&W, I ran into three angry Mexicans who were ready to chew my leg off.  Lucky for me they were locked in their owners' car, and I could safely finger the chihuahuas without too much chance that they would break the glass. God, why do people have those lap dogs?  They are all so yappy and noisy, although I did have a great conversation with a young Jack Russel the other day.  None of them, of course, of the caliber of a Labrador, or a Malmute, but what do I know?

I managed to find a parking spot in Victoria which was only about 4 blocks from the tailors'.  It became clear to me that I have absolutely no security system set up for the bike.  I had to leave my tank bag, GPS, and gear all hanging there.  While I do have locks for the panniers, the other stuff, including helmet, backpack, and gloves are wide open for the picking.  After finding the tailor and making arrangements for the alterations, I was glad and fortunate to come back to an untouched bike.  I do have a PACSAFE enclosure, but I did not bring it with me on this trip.  There is going to be a lesson around this, and I had better be paying attention, or be prepared to lost some stuff....

After the tailor, I headed over to the ISLAND BMW shop, to confer on the order for new fork tubes for the bike.  It seems that the original fork tubes have developed scratches which will not allow for secure fork seals, and the choice is to have the tubes replaced here in Canada, or to be worrying about fork seal replacements for the next year.  I also made arrangements for ordering a new chain, sprockets, and brake pads.  I will probably also start off with new tires as well, although I have been thinking about holding off on new tires until I hit San Diego.  I have been getting between 8,000 and 10,000 km on the back tires, which are Heideneaus.  I have been running a TCK Continental on the front, and in spite of the chatter, I am happy with this combination in the loose gravel, which for me is the scariest.  I have been avoiding mud, and would guess that with the weight on the bike, that mud will be a whole new ball game that I wished I had avoided.  I will be coming back to the shop in a week or two for the fork tube replacement and the final set up of the bike before I head South.

While I was there, I went to the back to talk to the mechanics, because they are the guys who have the skills and knowledge which Blondie needs in order to stay healthy and in one piece.  I have a great deal of respect for anyone who works on fixing other peoples mistakes, accidents, and errors.  I think that you need to be a special kind of person to be continually working to fix something that is broken.  All three of the mechanics in this shop are highly skilled and know what they are doing.  In most shops, you cant get close to the shop area, and what happens to your bike is often a mystery. I have made it a point to ask questions and to watch and try to learn as much as I can, although I feel totally inadequate for any major problem with the bike, in terms of wrenching it back together.  I guess that is why I am carrying way too many tools, in an effort to compensate for that lack of knowledge.    I did have a good chat with the guys, and discovered an interesting item..

One of the technicians is a young fellow about 28 years or so.  He wanted to show me a project that he has been working on for the last 5 years.  I expected to see a built up Ducati or race bike of some form when he took me to his work area.  Instead, he showed me a very professionally laid out book!   He has  produced his first book of motorcycle travel stories, adventures, and situations.  I was totally blown away as I read the biography on the back cover of his book.  While the books are self-published, I was really impressed with my first scan of the book, and I ordered three of them to share with my two rider Sons and others who are thinking about writing their thoughts down.  I was very impressed,and thought  that here again is an example of how being open to life's energies can make for a very fullfilling day.

I am really looking forward to seeing the books in print.  Another reason that I like the mechanic is that he is a full blown Welshman, and his first name, Gwynn, evokes many memories of another man from Wales.   He tells me that his book can be bought at mechanics  It seems that the link does not work, so I will have to do some work on that.  Edit:  I have found the link to a description of the book at :

To top the day off, I went out to dinner with my friend Pat and her daughter and her kids. I have not seen the kids in a couple of years.  The youngest boy, who is now entering Grade 1, was able to give me a lesson on SmartPhone etiquette, and how to best download appropriate apps for my phone.  I also learned about using ICloud so that I can not lose my photos.  I will have to get on that...

 I just had to take a pic of these two 2009 FGS studs at the Island BMW shop.  Maybe if I park Blondie next to them, some of the shine will cross over.  No stitching or plastic welding for these boys: not a scratch could be seen.

The long and the short of it for today is that when I finally arrived at my friends' place for the night, Blondie decided to take a dirt nap, and fell over in the driveway.  This meant that I had to take off all the gear, including the panniers, and pry her back up on her feet with a 2X6 and my old back.  There is another lesson to be learned here, and it has a lot to do with the amount of gear that one feels is absolutely necessary to carry.  I had better pay attention to the Teacher again...or carry a 2X6 and be prepared to be bending my back after Blondie naps.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

God, Grant me the Serenity....

I don't know how many times I repeated that prayer to myself in the first three or four years of my efforts to stay sober and to clean up my life.  This weekend, the hottest that I have seen in a long time, was the 25th anniversary of my last drunk.  Some of you were around and will probably not remember the circumstances, or worse, you do remember the circumstances.  Nevertheless, twenty-five years of sobriety is worth celebrating, and at least recognizing, if for no more than to help someone, anyone, who still struggles with alcohol.

I will forever be thankful to  those folks, mostly Alcoholics Anonymous members, who showed me that I could live my life free of booze, and who helped me in those first years of anxiety, depression, and worry.  Some of my AA friends are still alive and sober, and their lives are a testament to the program and a demonstration that people can in fact make their lives into a productive and worthwhile endeavour.

It goes without saying that I had a strong desire 25 years ago to see my children grow and become adults.  It would seem that the beautiful people who have evolved from those kids have certainly kept their part of the bargain, and I in turn fully intend on keeping that momentum, energy, and Love growing as we move forward in life.

I plan on exercising an option on another 25 years of Sobriety so that I can be around for the next ages and stages of all those that I love and cherish.  Whether it is Family, Tribe, or clan, there is an alignment of energy and values which need to be shared and to be celebrated amongst Friends and relatives, and those connections should never be denied, dismissed, or denigrated.   When we allow life to separate us from our friends and family, or we purposively move away from those connections, we are harming our   Souls, and feeding those demons that can serve up some might dangerous lessons, if we are not careful.

I could not have reached a point in my life where I felt that the earth had moved in a postive and meaningful direction away from the need to have a drink if I had not fully embraced the concept of foregiveness.   I needed to forgive myself for my many mistakes, and I needed to forgive those who had trespassed against me.  Neither avenue is without pain and self-doubt, and I am still walking down those pathways, but I am reassured that there is no other way but to forgive.


A little over a month ago, I started this blog, partially to provide myself with a basis to reflect on  a reality which was rapidly changing for me.  Retirement is not something that I have done, on any level.  The connotation behind the word suggests that one is moving away from something.  I feel that I have been moving towards something fo the pat 25 years, and that in the process of seeing the world through a lens which has been achieved through lots of work on the valleys within my own psyche.

When I met "Guy" in Waglisla last month, I was shaken to the core: I had not seen another malmute like him since my old friend "Nootka" had passed.  Again, there are some of you who will remember the  King of the Dogs, as he was known in Bella Bella.

The fact that I have not met, seen or run across another Malmute like Nootka until I returned to Bella Bella tells me that I am on the right track, even though it may only be my train, and no one elses'.  I am happy to believe that I am catching enough good vibrations to follow my instincts and to continue to discover that there are many more moments of Serendipity in Life which are meant to be experienced and relished with a full and open mind.

On one level, I am talking about the unconditional love which one can give and receive from our so-called animal friends.  On another level, I am pointing out that there are magical points in all of our lives  that, if we are fully awake and functional, can become magical and reaffirming of our need to have a belief in a Higher Power.